Tree trimming next step near bad Sharon intersection

·2 min read

Aug. 5—SHARON — Whacking down brush and trimming back trees to improve a dangerous Sharon intersection could begin as soon as this morning.

In an informal outdoor meeting Thursday afternoon a couple hundred yards from the Spencer Avenue and East Connelly Boulevard intersection, Sharon City Manager Bob Fiscus said the city is acting quickly to make it safer.

"It could be as soon as tomorrow, but we have to check that we have the right things in place."

Sharon officials have called the intersection the city's most dangerous. Since 2019, it has seen 16 accidents — two of them just in the past week. A two-car crash there last November claimed the life of one of the drivers.

PennDOT representatives were on hand to offer suggestions along with Matt Stewart, senior planner for Mercer County Regional Planning.

"We explored who can do what," Stewart said.

Among the complaints from drivers and nearby residents is that brush and overgrown trees stick far out into traffic lanes before the intersection, blocking motorists' views.

Fiscus took PennDOT representatives and others on a walk east and west of Spencer Avenue along East Connelly Boulevard. At times the group was inches from the heavily-traveled four-lane highway as cars whizzed by.

Some of the trees and brush sit on homeowners property. But Fiscus said he spoke to a couple of the residents who said they would work with city on the project.

Adding a new traffic light fixture to the existing signals near the intersection also is seriously being looked at, he said.

Fiscus didn't have an immediate estimate for the project.

"I'm trying to keep it as affordable as possible," he said.

The busy Connelly Boulevard, which is U.S. Route 62, is a major throughfare entering the east side of the city from Hermitage, where it is called the Shenango Valley Freeway. Westbound traffic encounters a series of signaled intersections at Smith, Service and Spencer Avenues as the road curves, limiting visibility.

A fourth intersection with Shady Avenue, the block between Smith and Service, was closed a few years ago.

The posted speed limit is 40mph along Connelly.

Fiscus talked earlier this week about possibly closing the Spencer intersection immediately for safety then determining whether the closure should be made permanent.